UBC Undergraduate Research

Analysis of DNA variations in genes under selection on the mountain pine beetle (MPB) fungal associates Lauermeier, Mackenzie


The Mountain Pine Beetle (MPB), Dendroctonus ponderosa Hopkins, is a small bark beetle that has affected over 13 million hectares of forests in western Canada and the USA since 1990, and more recently has affected forests at higher elevations and more northern latitudes (Logan et al. 2001). The MPB attacks the trees alone; it has a mutualistic association with fungal species that are mainly in the Ophiostomoid family of the Ascomycota phylum, which provides many biological benefits (Lee et al. 2006a). To develop a better understanding of the biology and to provide information for the development of MPB growth models, single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified from multiple candidate Grosmannia clavigera DNA samples. G. clavigera is one of the mutualistic fungal species, and DNA samples were used from various populations in western North America. PCR using DNA oligonucleotides was the main method to obtain the amplified genes for sequencing. After sequencing at Laval University, Geneious software was used to contig, edit, and align sequences. Using concatenated sequences, SNPs that were found within the adaptive genes were used to construct three different phylogenetic diagrams. The geographical locations of the populations tested in the phylogenetic analysis were compared to the genetic distance of the different samples. The data shows that there is a trend where populations of G. clavigera that are further apart geographically have a greater genetic distance, and populations that are geographically closer together share similar SNP variations.

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